How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life

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9780060556334: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life

On February 6, 2001, my nine-year-old daughter happened to wander into the room during a television segment marking Ronald Reagan's ninetieth birthday. She watched for a moment. Then she turned to me and asked, "Dad, is that the President you worked for?"

What answer could I give her? How could I make her see? I wanted my daughter to recognize that the world she inhabited was freer and more prosperous because of that old, old man on television. But I also wanted her to grasp my personal debt to him, to understand all that he taught me-how to work and how to relax, how to think and how to use words, how to be a good husband, how to approach life itself...

I needed to tell my children how Ronald Reagan changed my life.

In 1982, as a young man, Peter Robinson was hired as a speechwriter in the Reagan White House. During the six years that followed, he was one of a core group of writers who became informal experts on Reagan, absorbing not just his political positions but his personality, manner, and way of carrying himself And the example Reagan set-as a confident, passionate, principled, generous-spirited older man-molded Robinson's outlook just as he was coming into his own. "Hard work. A good marriage. A certain lightness of touch," he writes. "The longer I studied Ronald Reagan, the more lessons I learned."

At the core of How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life are ten of the life lessons Robinson learned from the fortieth President-principles that have guided his own life ever since. But it also offers a warm and unforgettable portrait of a great yet ordinary man who touched the individuals around him as surely as he did his millions of admirers around the world.

Drawing on journal entries from his days at the White House, as well as interviews with those who knew the President best, Robinson etches his portrait with fresh observations, telling detail, and that "certain lightness of touch" that recalls the master himself The result is nothing less than a love story-an account of the profound respect and affection that one young man came to feel for the President who changed his life forever.

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About the Author:

Peter Robinson spent six years as a speechwriter in the Reagan White House. Among his speeches was the celebrated "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech, which Reagan delivered in Berlin in 1987. Robinson is the host of the PBS television program, Uncommon Knowledge, and the author of two previous books, It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP and Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA. A fellow at the Hoover Institution, he lives in Stanford, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

Conservatives, exult! Robinson's self-help/memoir/Reagan hagiography is an All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten for right-wingers. The former White House speechwriter and author of It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP and Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA illuminates 10 life lessons in a love letter to the Gipper ("How," Robinson asks, "did such a nice guy get to be President?"). By looking at both the historical (supply-side economics, the Cold War, Iran-contra) and the personal (Reagan's beliefs, his relationship with his family), Robinson unearths maxims such as "Do your work" and "Say your prayers." The stories are engaging, and he tosses in dashes of philosophy, such as the nature of good and evil, based on Reagan's ideas. The writing style, though, is repetitive, and occasionally Robinson makes leaps in his assumptions of Reagan's motivations; none of this, however, dilutes the message. Each lesson is related to Robinson's own life either in contrast or to show how he's made Reagan's lessons "scalable" for his own use. Interviews with and stories about many of the major players of the Reagan administration, like Ed Meese and Colin Powell, lend an insider's feel. Behind-the-scenes details, such as how the famous "Tear Down the Wall" speech was composed, give a fresh perspective. And while Robinson's respect for the former president verges on deification, especially as he glosses over Reagan's shortcomings ("Now, I myself was never able to get worked up over the deficits," Robinson says), this book provides solid, if somewhat obvious, lessons that will appeal to the legions of Reagan fans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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